|Publication number||US7752732 B2|
|Application number||US 11/747,093|
|Publication date||Jul 13, 2010|
|Filing date||May 10, 2007|
|Priority date||May 18, 2006|
|Also published as||CA2686983A1, EP2153073A1, EP2153073A4, US20080199275, WO2008140912A1|
|Publication number||11747093, 747093, US 7752732 B2, US 7752732B2, US-B2-7752732, US7752732 B2, US7752732B2|
|Inventors||Brian A. Brown, Gregory A. M. Brown, Lawrence G. Brown|
|Original Assignee||International Patent Development Group, Llc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (16), Referenced by (5), Classifications (13), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims priority of our provisional U.S. patent application Ser. No. 60/802,045, filed May 18, 2006.
The field is mounting and joining systems, and in particular methods and apparatus for mounting fasteners to hollow walls and ceilings and for using fasteners to join sheets of material.
2. Prior Art Fasteners
Most walls and ceilings of residential and commercial structures have a hollow cavity construction, i.e., there is a hollow space behind the wall. The wall comprises a sheet of material, typically between 1 and 2.54 cm thick, affixed to a suitable frame which includes wood or metal framing members (studs or joists). These are typically spaced on 41 or 61 cm centers. Such sheet material is sold under the trademark SHEETROCK by United States Gypsum Co., Chicago, and is known generically as drywall, wallboard, plasterboard, and gypsum board. Another less common wall and ceiling material with similar characteristics is plaster applied over a lath substrate. In the discussion below, the terms wall and ceiling are synonymous.
A variety of fasteners are commercially available for attaching, hanging, or securing objects such as pictures, mirrors, shelving, cabinetry, towel racks, handrails and other objects to a wall at a location other than over the area where a framing member is located.
Most fasteners can be divided into two general types: toggle and expansion.
Toggle fasteners generally comprise two components. A first or anchor component has a spreading or tilting arm or arms and is inserted with the arms folded in into a drilled hole in the wall material. A second or activating component, typically a screw or pin, activates the anchor component after the anchor component is inserted. The activating component is inserted into the anchor component, causing its arm or arms to tilt or spread within the hollow space behind the wall, thereby locking the fastener firmly in place.
Nagel, in U.S. Pat. No. 2,916,235 (1959) discloses a fastener comprising an anchor component including a pivot-mounted arm at the end of a flared tube. A hole is drilled into the wall and the anchor component is fully inserted so that the flared end rests against the outer surface of the wall, preventing further insertion. The activating component is a screw. The screw, when inserted into the tube, forces the arm to rotate until its distal end contacts the inside of the wall. Turning of the screw causes it to wedge beneath the end of the arm nearest the pivot. This completes installation of the fastener.
While Nagle's device forms a secure fastener for walls of varying thickness, it suffers from several drawbacks. The fastener cannot be installed by simply hammering or screwing it into place. A hole must first be drilled. In order to permit the screw to wedge beneath the arm, the tube must have a substantially larger diameter than the screw. In turn, this requires a larger-than-desirable hole. Further, when fully wedged against the pivot-end of the arm, the screw does not seat in a position perpendicular to the wall. Thus the screw head does not lie flush with the wall, resulting in a less-than-perfect anchoring with a high-pressure contact at the top side of the screw head, and no contact at the bottom of the screw head. Finally, Nagel's device is somewhat complex, likely requiring manual assembly of the pivot joint. The several parts very likely render Nagel's device more expensive than simpler prior-art fasteners.
Dwyer, in U.S. Pat. No. 3,213,745 (1965), Johnson, in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,431,813 (1969) and 4,022,100 (1977), McSherry, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,181,061 (1980), Schiefer, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,289,062 (1981), and Camilleri, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,662,808 (1987), all teach fasteners which operate on the same principle. The anchor component of the fastener is inserted into a pre-drilled hole in the wall. A flared proximal portion of this component rests against the outer surface of the wall, preventing further insertion. The activating component, a screw or pin, is arranged to cause two or more arms to spread in the space behind the wall, with the arms eventually resting against the inner surface of the wall. An object is then secured to the wall by the activating component. As with Nagel, a pre-drilled hole in the wall is required. In many instances this causes the inside portion of the wall to crumble, weakening the wall at that point and limiting the weight of load supportable by the fastener.
Johnson '813 shows a rectangular fastener which is driven into a pre-drilled hole. The fasteners of the other patents use cylindrical fasteners which are inserted into a pre-drilled hole. These fasteners all displace a significant amount of drywall material. This leaves an unsightly hole upon removal of the fastener. More importantly, the size of such fasteners and the displacement of drywall material compromises the integrity of the wall.
Ellenberger, in U.S. Pat. No. 3,550,499 (1970), Moretti, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,224,805 (1993), and Remmers, in U.S. Pat. No. 6,494,653 (2002), teach fasteners with screw or pin-spread arms similar to those described above. However, the anchor component of these fasteners is hammered directly into the wall material, without requiring a pre-drilled hole. The activating component is then inserted to drive the arms apart, securing the fastener. Remmers further includes a gap in the form of a channel (
Harker, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,902,179 (1990), teaches a drive-in anchor component structure with hinged flanges that expand circumferentially to engage the back side of the wall in response to insertion of a screw. In addition, when the screw is inserted, a longitudinally slit portion of the body expands within the hole created by the fastener. The expansion of his hinged flange adjacent the inside of wallboard 21 (
Gaudron, in U.S. Pat. No. 6,435,789 (2002), teaches a self-drilling fastener with a flanged, toggling anchor component. After the fastener drills its way through a wall, its flanged portion rests against the front side of the wall. The toggling portion is positioned behind the wall and pivots to a position parallel to the plane of the wall. Inserting and turning a screw draws the toggled portion toward the back side of the wall where it rests, securing the fastener.
Three holding methods are common to the above prior-art fasteners. In the first method, toggles are inserted through the wall and then urged into contact with the back side of the wall by a screw. In the second method, the anchor component comprises pre-folded arms which, after full insertion of the fastener into the wall, are forced to spread against the back side of the wall by the anchor component. In the third method, flanges engage the back side of the wall while a slit portion expands to fill the hole through which the fastener is passed.
The other type of fasteners, expansion fasteners, are generally secured by increasing their diameter. Some comprise an anchor component which is hammered into a wall or inserted into a pre-drilled hole. The activating component is a pin or screw which is forced into a central, cylindrical cavity within the fastener, increasing its diameter. Still others have tangs and barbs which springably expand to resist pull-out of the fastener.
Karitzky, in U.S. Pat. No. 1,452,514 (1923), and Girkin, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,221,167 (1993), teach similar fasteners which are inserted into a drilled hole. A nail or screw is inserted into the fastener, forcing its diameter to increase, thus securing it in the hole. Girkin additionally includes a lock nut which forms part of the fastener.
In U.S. Pat. No. 4,322,194 (1982), Einhorn teaches a wall fastener which is hammered or otherwise driven into a wall. After insertion, a screw forces two or more arms apart, compressing the wall around the fastener.
In U.S. Pat. No. 3,983,779 (1976), Dimas teaches a nail with tangs. The nail is driven through roofing material into decking beneath by a hammer. Tangs on the nail prevent withdrawal of the nail and securely hold the roofing material in place on the decking.
Giannuzzi, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,447,005 (1995), and Vassiliou, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,500,238 (1985), teach an initially flat fastener that is driven into the wall. A screw is then threaded into the fastener, causing it to expand, partially within the wallboard material. Although these fasteners do minimal damage to wallboard material when they are inserted, they both spread upon activation, weakening the wallboard material by crushing it.
Expansion fasteners must exert sufficient expansion force to be secure, but must not fracture or crumble their host material. These fasteners are generally inappropriate for use in friable materials, such as dry wall or gypsum board. They are limited to lighter loads as a result.
The above prior-art references all employ an anchor having a section within the wall whose axis is perpendicular to the surface of the wall. Nagel, in U.S. Pat. No. 2,916,235, teaches a screw that passes through the normal cylindrical section at an angle in order to wedge against a member at the back of his structure. In all prior-art fasteners, the activating element such as a pin, nail, or screw, enters at the geometric axis of the wall-mounted section.
The prior-art fasteners described above suffer from significant disadvantages. Many do not have the ability to accept a variety of ready-made, pre-configured pins that can be inserted without tools. Other disadvantages include the need to drill a hole in the wall, difficulty in tightening properly since over-torquing the fastener or the screw often results in crumbling of the wallboard and failure of the fastening function, and an unsightly oversized hole when the fastener is removed from such an over-torqued condition. In addition, cylindrical fasteners concentrate the load force at the bottom of the fastener. This results in local pressures that are higher than experienced with flat fasteners of comparable holding capacity. These higher pressures can cause crumbling of the wallboard material, also known as “blowout”. Some of these fastening systems are also non-removable or are difficult to remove without leaving a large, unsightly hole in the wall. In addition, expansion fasteners crush the friable drywall material, limiting the grip of the device in the wall.
Other fasteners are shown in our co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 11/171,088, filed Jun. 29, 2005 and 11/678,459, filed Feb. 23, 2007. In application Ser. No. 11/171,088, which is incorporated herein by reference, we teach a different wall anchor. A preferred embodiment of this anchor is shown in perspective in
Fastener 100 is preferably made of plastics such as those sold under the trademarks “Nylon 6” and “Nylon 66 Super Tough” by E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, Wilmington, Del., U.S.A.
Note, in this instance, that section 120 is oriented above section 105. When a load hangs on hook 155 of pin 140, a moment of torque exists which urges section 105 to rotate within wallboard 120. This torque is balanced in part by wallboard 101 at section 105, and partly by section 120 resting against the inner surface of wallboard 101. The distribution of forces in this orientation results in a restoring torque with an arm the length of section 105, which gives added strength to fastener 100.
While this design is superior to other prior-art designs in terms of construction and use, it still leaves an oval hole in the wall when it is removed.
Accordingly, one advantage of one or more aspects of one embodiment is to provide an improved wall fastener and a secure anchorage system and method by which a fastener can be hammered or otherwise driven into a wall and later removed without significantly damaging the wall material. Further advantages of one or more aspects of other embodiments are to provide an easy-to-use fastener which does not require a pre-drilled hole, which is easily mass-produced, which is configured during installation as a contiguous, rigid unit without gaps, which can accept a variety of pre-configured pins that can be installed either with or without using tools, provides superior holding strength, that leaves a minimal hole in the wall, that is activated by toggling a member behind the wall rather than spreading and crushing the wallboard material, and which can be easily removed. Still further advantages of one or more aspects will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and accompanying drawings.
In accordance with one aspect of a preferred embodiment, a flat, initially knife-like fastener comprises a proximal wall-anchor section and a pivotable distal section or tip. The two sections are joined by an integral hinge. These sections are initially formed as a rigid unit for insertion into a wall. After the wall anchor section is seated, the pivotable section(s) is forced to pivot at the hinge by a pin or other similar element, causing the pivotable section to rest against the inside surface of the wall, thereby securing the fastener.
Wall anchor section
End of pin
Wedge 210 comprises two portions 220 and 222 adjacent surface 215 and will be called proximal portions since they are closer to annulus 202, which is hammered or pushed in by the user. Portions 220 and 222 each have one end terminating at surface 215 of annulus 202. The other ends of portions 220 and 222 terminate at a pair of hinges 225 and 230, respectively. Hinges 225 and 230 are formed within a pair of oppositely-facing notches 244 and 245 (
In the pre-activation condition shown in
Hole 205 passes through annulus 202 and rib 203 (
A cam-follower projection 250 (
In one embodiment the outer diameter of annulus 202 (
Fastener 200 is preferably formed from a metal such as steel, but many other materials are suitable, including nylon and other plastics, metals, and hardwood.
Tip 240 (
Next, an activating pin or screw 615 (
If pin 615 includes screw threads, it is preferably inserted either manually or by using a screwdriver or other implement to turn it about its axis. If pin 615 has ratchet teeth or smooth sides (not shown), it is preferably inserted manually or by axially-applied force from a tool such as a hammer or any tool capable of applying axial force, including tool 1360 (
As pin 615 is inserted into fastener 200 through hole 205 (
Upon further urging of pin 615, the rigidity of hinges 225 and 230 is overcome. The material comprising fastener 200 is selected to be flexible in the thinned sections at hinges 225 and 230. Therefore, pin 615 forces projection 250, and therefore section 235, to rotate downward about an axis containing both of hinges 225 and 230 (
If shaft 612 has smooth, straight sides (not shown), it is inserted by the application of axial force and will be held in fastener 200 by sliding friction against the inner walls of hole 205, and the upper surface of projection 250. In some uses, this amount of restraining force may be adequate. For a stronger hold, shaft 612 has threads as shown or ratchet teeth (not shown) that lightly penetrate the inner surfaces of hole 205. For a yet-stronger hold, shaft 612 has circumferentially partial threads or ratchet teeth with a still larger diameter. Upon partial rotation these teeth or threads firmly engage the mating partial threads in the walls of hole 205, and may even somewhat deformingly enlarge hole 205 and sections 220 and 222 (
After fastener 200 is installed and activated by pin 615, objects can be hung from pin 615. Alternatively, pin 615 can be used to hold objects in place on a wall or ceiling or other surface. As described below, fastener 200 can alternatively be used to hold two or more layers of material together.
Removal of fastener 200 from wallboard 600 is accomplished by reversing the above steps. Pin 615 is first withdrawn from hole 205. If pin 615 is threaded, a screwdriver can be used. If pin 615 has another holding mechanism, fingers, pliers, or other gripping means can be used to pull the pin out. Then annulus 202 is pulled away, using pliers or another gripping tool, from surface 605 of wallboard 600. Sections 220, 222, and 235 follow. The removal force causes section 235 to rotate clockwise about the axes of hinges 225 and 230 until it lies in the plane of sections 220 and 222. At this point, sections 220, 222, and 235 all slide freely out of the hole in wallboard 600 and fastener 200 is removed.
A second embodiment includes a modification of projection 250 (
Prior to activation of fastener 700, front and rear sections 724 and 725 lie in the same plane, indicated by line 703. A hole 702 has an axis 711 and receives a pin 615. Hole 702 lies above the plane containing sections 724 and 725 and line 703.
In use, fastener 700 is inserted into wallboard 600 until outer surface 701 is flush with the outer surface 605 of wallboard 600 (
Fastener 700 is activated by pin 615. Pin 615 is inserted with its axis 712 collinear with axis 711 so that it lies above the plane of sections 724 and 725. As pin 615 is inserted into fastener 700, the tip 620 of pin 615 first engages detent 720 of arm 705. Since the axis of hole 702 in the front or proximal section 724 is above or offset from the axis of rear or distal section 725, tip 620 of pin 615 will engage cam-follower surface 720 at a location farther from the hinge or pivot between the distal and proximal sections.
As pin 615 moves farther into fastener 700, rear section 725 of the fastener rotates downward until it is in contact with the inner surface of wallboard 600. Tip 730 of arm 705 still lies in the path of tip 620 of pin 615 (
This configuration is useful when the rotation of section 725 must be greater than 90 degrees. This can happen when front section 724 extends beyond the inner surface of wallboard 600, for example.
Removal of fastener 700 is accomplished in the same manner as described above in the case of fastener 200 of
A third embodiment includes the addition of a guide member to guide the activating pin or screw. Fastener 800 (
Wings 1005 permit the use of activating pins or screws (not shown) with diameters smaller than entry hole 205. The threads of a screw with a diameter smaller than that of entry hole 205 can engage wings 1005 during activation of fastener 1000. In
A larger screw (not shown), with a diameter equal to that of hole 205, can be used. When inserted it simply deforms wings 1005 and moves them out of the way as it moves in to activate fastener 1000.
This embodiment can also accommodate screws and pins that with diameters greater than that of hole 205.
An anchor 1100 shown in
An activating pin 1120 (shown threaded) with a shaft 1125 and a tip 1130 is screwed into hole 1135 in annulus 1115. A guide bore 1140 in rib 1144 guides pin 1120 toward projection 1150 in projection 1110. Pin 1120 can be threadless, in which case it would be inserted by pushing it straight in, e.g., by hammering.
When tip 1130 of pin 1120 pushes against detent 1150, rear section 1146 pivots at hinges 1147, causing section 1146 to rotate counterclockwise, or downward.
As pin 1120 progresses farther into anchor 1100, finger 1105 bends with respect to projection 1110, rotating counter-clockwise to its final resting position shown in
The embodiment shown in
Fastener 1300 has been inserted into sheet 1305 so that inner surface 1310 rests against outer surface 1320 of sheet 1305. Inner edge 1325 of annulus 1315 is exposed in this application.
A pin 1330 with a shaft 1335, tip 1340, and head 1345 has been manually inserted into fastener 1300 until tip 1340 of pin 1330 has contacted projection 1350 of fastener 1300.
The activation of fastener 1300 is accomplished with a tool 1360 (
Arms 1364 and 1365 are secured to the body of tool 1360 that comprises an apparatus (not shown) that provides a driving force to plunger 1370. This driving force can be supplied by an electric, pneumatic, hydraulic, spring loaded, manual, or any other suitable force. Plunger 1370 moves horizontally between positions A and B in this drawing.
To activate fastener 1300, tool 1360 is placed as shown in
Tool 1360 activates fastener 1300 without permitting the transmission of the activating forces from fastener 1300 to materials 1305 being fastened. Fastener 1300 can be any of the previously mentioned embodiments or the like, and need only have surfaces engageable by a tool like 1360 provided on its proximal portion. The activating force supplied by plunger 1370 is balanced by equal and opposite forces supplied by fingers 1362 and 1363 secured against edge 1325 of annulus 1315 and surfaces 1366 in notches 1017. This application is useful when material 1305 is thin, flexible, friable, or easily displaced or whenever it is desirable to prevent the forces of activating a fastener from being transmitted to the material(s) being fastened. It is also useful when material 1305 comprises two or more layers that are to be fastened together.
When made in a single piece, all portions are stamped and formed from a single piece of sheet metal, then bent into the shapes shown in
Hole 205 is formed by opposing threads 1406 and 1406′ and the pitch of the threads engage a screw of standard size, such as American thread size 6-32, about 3.5 mm diameter with 1.26 threads/mm. Other screw sizes, pitch, diameter, etc., can be used. Optionally, a larger screw can be used. In this case, sections 1404 and 1405 stretch locally to admit the screw.
The upwardly facing V-shaped portion of projection 250 engages the tip of screw 1420 (
The angular position of projection 250 with respect to the plane of rear portion 235 compresses, rather than tearing, the material comprising wallboard 101 as the fastener is inserted. Thus section 1405 enters wallboard or other material 101 without causing blowout or damage to the wall. A stronger installation results.
If desired, screw 1420 can then be withdrawn a short distance and an object (not shown) can be suspended therefrom. Alternatively, wallboard 101 can comprise two or more layers of wallboard, metal, wood, plastic, or any other material. In this case, the fastener can be used to secure the layers together.
Instead of a living hinge 140, as shown in
In several aspects, our new fastener has a knife-like profile and an open channel to reduce blowout of the wallboard material. No alignment fins such as those used in prior-art fasteners are required. This thin profile also leaves a smaller hole in the wall when the fastener is removed. In addition, the wide, flat body and inclusion of two hinges on one large leg, as opposed to the prior-art designs that incorporate a single hinge on a single small leg, increases load bearing capability, increasing the strength of the installation. The flat shape allows much greater torque forces to be applied from a screw pin than are possible with a cylindrical shape, thus affording a tighter grip and less damage to the wall as the anchor is stressed rotationally. The open body design allows the use of a multiplicity of screw sizes. The open body of the fastener reduces displacement of wallboard material, thereby maintaining integrity of the wall and increasing the holding strength of the fastener. The off-center alignment allows the screw body to apply more leverage on the projection cam bump. The open channel design allows the inner section to bend more than 90 degrees, resulting in strong installation in thin wall board. No ribs or teeth are required to keep our design in the wall, as was the case in prior-art designs. The fastener accommodates all the pin designs of the design in our co-pending application. In addition, because of the internal partial threads on one hand, and the indented, friable front annulus on the other hand, the diameter of a pin or screw used in the present design can be greater or less than the diameter of the entry hole on the front of the fastener.
While the above description contains many specificities, these should not be considered limiting but merely exemplary. Many variations and ramifications are possible.
The entry hole of the fastener can be tilted or off-center and still be arranged to guide an activating pin to the cam follower surface. In addition, an on-center entry hole can be used. In this configuration, activation is accomplished by pushing the activating pin against the lower-than-center, curved face of the cam.
One size anchor can be used for different wallboard thicknesses. In the case of wallboard that is thicker than that for which the anchor is designed, the front section will rotate less than 90 degrees with respect to the axis of the anchor. This causes local vise-like compression of the wallboard beneath the anchor in the vise formed between the rear section and the annulus. The degree of compression is determined by the anchor used and the thickness of the wallboard. In the case of wallboard that is thinner than that for which the anchor is designed, the embodiments shown in
The fastener can be used to secure items to thin materials, such as sheet metal, plastic, and the like. It can be activated by a tool that applies the activating force only to the fastener and not the materials into which the fastener is secured.
The sizes, materials, shapes, and interconnections of the various parts can be changed from those discussed.
While the present system employs elements which are well known to those skilled in the art of wall anchor design, it combines these elements in a novel way which produces a new result not heretofore discovered. Accordingly the scope of this invention should be determined, not by the embodiments illustrated, but by the appended claims and their legal equivalents.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US8011080 *||Sep 14, 2008||Sep 6, 2011||International Patent Development Group, Llc||Hinged wall and ceiling anchor with fins and hinge|
|US8235635 *||Sep 4, 2011||Aug 7, 2012||International Patent Development Group, Llc||Wall and ceiling anchor with fins and hinge|
|US8764364 *||Jun 29, 2005||Jul 1, 2014||Illinois Tool Works Inc.||System and methods for wall and ceiling fastening|
|US8950992||Aug 6, 2012||Feb 10, 2015||Vladimir Vayntraub||Toggle nail|
|US20060222474 *||Jun 29, 2005||Oct 5, 2006||Brown Brian A||System and methods for wall and ceiling fastening|
|U.S. Classification||29/525.05, 411/340|
|International Classification||B21J15/02, F16B21/00|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10T29/49954, F16B13/0808, F16B13/0833, F16B13/124, F16B13/002|
|European Classification||F16B13/08B, F16B13/08F, F16B13/00B, F16B13/12B|
|Apr 12, 2008||AS||Assignment|
|Aug 4, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4